February 2017 Book Reviews

February 2017 Book Reviews

I loved several of the books I read this month – and it was a nice mix of fiction and non-fiction.  You can see everything I’ve read this year HERE and a short review of my favorites can be found below: NON-FICTION   This was a book I got from the library on my Kindle and read it mostly in one evening while the Grammy’s were on the TV.  I appreciated the way the book was laid out – in that we have “buckets” for our life and we need to be sure we are taking care of ALL of them.  I also liked the short action items at the end of each section.  I’m a big fan of a “to-do list”!  I’ll probably end up purchasing this one to read again.  My rating 4.5 out of 5. FICTION I found this third book of the series to be just as entertaining as the first two.  I liked that you were never quite sure how things would work out until the very end.  Fun, fast and easy read.  As always I got a huge kick out of the pictures that were included.  My rating 4.5 out of 5. This was an enjoyable book to read while on a ski weekend.  There were several nights I was curled up by the fire with plenty of snow falling outside and a hot chocolate by my side enjoying this novel.  Nora is invited to a weekend away to celebrate the upcoming wedding of an old friend she hasn’t seen in ten years.  She debates on whether she should go or not and...

How I use the Essential Oil Joy

I hope you’ve enjoyed playing around with the Essential Oil Joy this month.  I know I did – it definitely became a habit for me to run a few drops through my hair, and I had several people comment on how nice my hair smelled.  What an easy and natural way to get delicious smelling hair!   I also shared how to make delicious scented note cards. It was a lot of fun making the lotion bars.  For those of you who missed that Facebook Live episode, the recipe is HERE so you’ll have it handy whenever you get the desire to make some of your own. I know this was one of the more expensive oils we will cover this year, but it is composed of so many wonderful oils that it’s truly worth every penny – and the bottle will last you a long time!  Even though the month is over, you can still order some and refer back to this post for ways to use it. Next month we will be diving into Lemon.  You don’t want to miss that as this oil is one of the least expensive while having a HUGE variety of uses.  Make sure and check back throughout the month here and on my Facebook Page to learn all about the essential oil Lemon. Want to play along next month?  Check out the Oil of the Month Club Page for more info. Need a quick start on making the most of every day?  A way to jump in and start enjoying life while you are planning out your next year?  Check out...
Create a Joy Generating Routine

Create a Joy Generating Routine

How often do you wake up feeling TERRIFIC?  I mean  SUPER terrific?  Ready to jump out of bed and start the day just knowing it will be fantastic. It’s an amazing feeling when that happens, but for most people, that isn’t an everyday occurrence.  Even the happiest people don’t always wake up feeling fabulous. There are days you wake up grumpy, tired or just dreading another iteration of the daily grind.  Once you’ve started down this negative path, it can be really hard to turn your day around.  You find yourself without patience, snapping at other people and just not enjoying your life. If you want to start your days with joy, I have a basic recipe for you that I call my “Joy Generating Routine.”  It includes some movement, some gratefulness and some indulgence. Sounds lovely, right? The best part is that if you have a plan like this in place, you can invoke your routine any morning you are feeling down.   Short on time?  Make sure you have a shortened version at the ready too. Although this needs to be tailored for YOU, I’m sure you’d like to see an example.  Here is mine: My Ideal Joy Generating Routine: 20 minutes of yoga (Daily Yoga), a fresh, hot cup of coffee with a splash of my favorite vanilla creamer and 15 minutes of devotions/ writing a line in my daily journal with what I’m grateful for, and running a few drops of Joy through my hair.  If I can add in a ten minute walk outside in the fresh air the routine is perfection! My shortened...
Joyful Lotion Bars

Joyful Lotion Bars

Since the oil for the month is Joy, this felt like the perfect time to try a little project I’ve been wanting to create for a while. Lotion bars I had about half the ingredients on hand from other projects and ordered the rest from Amazon.  I’ve included links in case you are interested in exactly what I used.  This project didn’t use much of each ingredient so I have LOTS left for future use. I have this fun heart shaped silicone tray and that’s what I used for my mold.  I think I picked it up at IKEA years ago for a few dollars.  The entire project was super simple and took about ten minutes – I can’t give you an exact time as I was also making dinner and packing lunches at the same time!!! Joyful Lotion Bars 1/4 cup melted coconut oil (I picked mine up from Aldi, so no link to the actual product) 15 drops Joy essential oil 1/4 t. vitamin E oil (GreatFull Skin 10000 IU Natural Vitamin E Oil for Scars, and Stretch Marks, Unscented, 1 Ounce) 1/4 cup Shea Butter (Raw Unrefined African Organic Pure Grade A, lvory Natural Shea Butter,1 lb– Use In DIY Whipped Body Butter,Lip Balm,Hand Cream,Eye Cream,Face Moisturizer,Kids Cream, Deep Hair Conditioner.) 1/4 cup Beeswax pellets (The Best Organic Yellow Beeswax Pellets 1Ib By White Naturals – Top Quality, 100% Pure, Triple Filtered) Step 1:  put all the ingredients in a glass container (I was lazy and just used the coconut oil jar as it was almost empty) Step 2:  boil a pot of water and then place...
Add Joy to your Relationships

Add Joy to your Relationships

February is the perfect month to think about relationships.  A healthy life includes solid and meaningful relationships, so it’s something we must focus on.  Since the oil of the month is Joy, I’m going to concentrate on adding joy to our relationships.  After all, who doesn’t want more of that? Regardless of what relationship you are working on this month (significant other, children, friends, etc.), there are a few guidelines to follow to help you improve, enjoy and add joy to those relationships. Some Don’ts: Don’t fall into the comparison trap.   This one can kill the joy in our relationships almost instantaneously.  It’s important to remember that when we look at someone else’s relationship, we are only looking at it from the outside.  We don’t know what really goes on behind closed doors, so it does us no good to compare ourselves to what we see as that isn’t the whole picture.  Also, forget about comparing your relationships to those in books or movies.  Those are imaginary.  No relationship can compete with someone or something that isn’t real – don’t even try. Don’t wait for later, enjoy today.  It’s common for us to think that things will get easier later – you know, when the kids are older, the schedule isn’t so busy, you lose ten pounds, whatever you are “waiting for.”  The reality is that your life is happening right now.  You aren’t even guaranteed that future whatever.  So why are you waiting for something that may never come?  Instead, make it a point to enjoy and grow the relationships with the people in your life NOW. Some Do’s: Look at the positive....

Favorite Books of January 2017

Well, I started the year off reading a LOT of books – and I can’t really tell you where I fit them in as it feels like I’ve been reading less than normal.  I guess a few of them were shorter, but still . . .  HERE is the complete list and below are short reviews of my favorites. NON-FICTION So I have to admit I picked this book up from the library simply because The Miracle Morning: The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed to Transform Your Life (Before 8AM) wasn’t available at the library and this one was.  Regardless, I really liked it.  I loved the Miracle Morning “formula” and have the original book on hold.  I found some very useful tips as well as some good encouragement to making the most of my mornings.  My rating 4.5 out of 5. Not only did I get a kick out of this book, I also got some good tips.  One of my favorites is to put something away immediately when you are de-cluttering – don’t place it in a pile to put away later because if you get interrupted in the middle of the project you’ll have a bigger mess and have accomplished nothing.  SO.TRUE.  That happens to me all the time – and yes, it takes longer to get up and go put something away, but at least when I stop midway through I have still done something.  Love it!  My rating 4 out of 5. FICTION This book kept me up almost all night finishing it.  I started mid-afternoon and finished it late that evening.  I loved the way the...

Goals 2017: Faith and Finances

Time for my last three categories of goals.  These three focus around faith and finances.   In case you missed it, last week I shared my goals for health and wellness and the week before relationships.  The finance goals are a bit more challenging for me as it’s not an area I’m terribly interested in, yet I KNOW I need to pay attention and get my finances in order.  Anyone else feel the same way?  So let’s start with faith since it’s much easier.  Faith.  Why?  For me, my faith is something I want to be the center of my life.  I want my faith to be reflected in how I live, the decisions I make and how I treat others.  So, it only makes sense to focus on it, right?  How? Daily devotions (right now I’m working through Savor: Living Abundantly Where You Are, As You Are and like all of Shauna Niequist’s works, I LOVE it), get my family to church regularly, meet with my small group weekly and make sure to give thanks daily for my many blessings. Finances.  Why? I’m getting to that age where I need to be seriously thinking about paying for college, retirement, etc.  I haven’t exactly ignored our finances, but I’m not as on top of them as I could/should be.  How?  Gather all the financial info and decide if each area is in the best shape it could be – if not, make appropriate adjustments; figure out where I’d like to be in ten years; make a plan to get there; execute the plan. Day Job.  Why?   I spend a lot of hours...
Goals 2017:  Health and Wellness

Goals 2017: Health and Wellness

Last week I shared my relationship goals – goals that included others.  This week I’ll be sharing my health and wellness goals – so the goals that really just include me!  I’d be willing to bet the vast majority of you have set health and wellness goals – probably more than once.  When I think of health and wellness I don’t think of just exercise and eating right – there are other aspects of personal wellness that I believe are just as important.  Hopefully a little insight into how I look at them will inspire you to think about your health and wellness goals in a different light. I think the most important aspect of a successful health and wellness goal is that it has to be exciting for you.  Say one of your goals is to get in better shape or to exercise consistently.  If you hate running, then by all means, don’t set yourself a goal of running a 5k.  It’s only going to piss you off every time you get on the treadmill – if you even continue to get on the treadmill!  Instead, think about what types of exercise would be fun for you and set a goal to do THAT consistently.  You are much more likely to succeed if you aren’t dreading the work involved in reaching a goal.  Healthy Living.  Why?  Losing weight or looking a certain way isn’t as important to me as feeling great.  Especially as I’ve struggled with not having the energy I desire in the past.  That means that being at my optimum health is super important to me –...

Goals 2017: Relationships

As I mentioned last week, this year I have a few very specific goals in each of the important areas of my life.  Goals I’ll be concentrating on and reviewing each quarter.  I’ve outlined nine areas, so I’ll cover three each week for the rest of the month.  I know many of us are hammering out our plans and goals for the year so hopefully this will spark some excitement or give you some good ideas on how to achieve the ones you’ve set. The first three goals are ones I believe ALL of us busy moms feel are important – they all center around relationships.  Now your relationship areas might be different than mine, but I’d be willing to bet you have some relationships in your life that are important to you and that you’d like to keep in mind and keep growing as 2017 unfolds. Spouse.  Why?  Pretty obvious I think, but especially now as our kids are in such a busy time of life – it’s very easy to get caught up in the “divide and conquer” method of parenting.  Efficient, yes, but also isolating.  So in 2017 I want to be intentional about making time for my spouse and not letting the busyness of this season take over.  How?  Weekly date nights, walking the dog together, making sure to talk for 10 – 15 minutes each evening (at a minimum and not about scheduling), and also Monday morning planning sessions to figure out who is doing what – that way that topic will hopefully not take over the other time we spend together.  Also at...

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